Comment 29 for bug 882274

On 30/10/11 19:11, Tal Liron wrote:
> No, but I'm suggesting that this is a point where your patience has
> run too thin and you refuse go the extra mile. I can't believe it
> makes you feel good about Ubuntu to witness these "riots," as you call
> them.

It doesn't feel good, no. What is missing is a mutual willingness to
agree to disagree and continue to work together.

Think about it. The decisions involved were taken, and it makes sense
for us to move on and fix other issues. We have done this on many other
issues on many other occasions, and sometimes I don't like the result
but we move on, and sometimes we expect others to do the same.

What we're told in this case, however, is that "if you don't change this
we're leaving". OK fine. If only. Instead of leaving, what we get is
continued haranguing.

My point is that what's broken is not the engagement; we're engaged.
What's broken is the sense of entitlement on one side of this
conversation - "do what I want, or I leave, and you're an idiot by the
way". As I said previously, in a collaborating community, that sort of
language is toxic. So I ask folk to stop doing it.

> You have to admit that something isn't working quite right: on the one
> hand, the Ayatana mailing list is open for everyone to read, but on
> the other hand, there seems to be a lot of miscommunication and
> misunderstanding of what goes on "inside."

There is no mystery about what goes on inside. Bugs get filed and fixed,
ideas get discussed publicly and privately, decisions get made, work
gets done. Pretending there is some active conspiracy or hostility on
"the inside" creates a sense of hostility towards those who work full
time trying to solve the very problems you're interested in seeing
solutions to - in general, not in this specific case. I assume you want
to see a solution to the shortage of free software on the average
machine? The folks "inside" are completely devoted to that.

We are a project that has two different kinds of competence: volunteer
(undirected) and full time (directed). Most of the full time
contributors also participate in an undirected, volunteer way.

Now, those two kinds of competence are BOTH needed for our shared
success. But they are different. And the people who most need to
acknowledge the difference are the volunteers. Because you can volunteer
on many projects, but there is only one where you can help ship exactly
the same bits as the professionals - elsewhere, you either have a
project with very little consequence/adoption, or you get to work on the
playground, while the professionals take your work and ship it as and
when they like it in a separate product.

So the collaboration of community and company is what makes Ubuntu
special. That is QUITE different to a community project in which
Canonical employees happen to volunteer a bunch of time.

And harsh talk of "inside vs outside" undermines the value of the
contribution that full time team makes. We can solve many problems in
Ubuntu that have plagued pure-volunteer projects for years.

What frustrates me here is the sense of taking that for granted. Please
don't. If we don't work together, we will fail, and the world will lose
Ubuntu.

> Perhaps you thrive on antagonism, or perhaps you have convinced
> yourself that loud detractors are inevitable and harmless to any large
> projects. But I know that if this were my project, and I were reading
> some of the comments, I would feel a sense that something is broken.

Do you ever read LKML?

> I believe this situation is fixable, or I would not have opened this
> as a bug. I read your blog and have been following Ubuntu for years.
> You have injected your persona into the project, so, like or not, you
> are going to get some personal attacks. I would imagine you're used to
> that by now. But, it's that particular role you fulfil that makes me
> wonder if you're the right man to be managing or even opining about
> the community process. In your engagement of the community, you are
> too easily tempted to confrontation.

The alternative to confrontation is to ignore you. Is that what you're
asking for?

> Everything is going to go downhill once you start calling our requests
> "selfish."

I haven't labelled all requests selfish. I've said it's selfish to
assume that an issue that you feel is an issue that has universal
acclaim and therefor must be addressed, when there is evidence to
suggest that is not the case. I'm not upset about having public bugs;
I'm just unimpressed by people who grandstand about a particular bug
when they could be helping to fix others with that energy.

> I see the conflict of goals as analogous to that between QA and the
> programmers: there's a reason you don't want the programmer doing the
> usability testing. The programmers will, unknowingly, test only what
> they know is working. Their imagination is constrained by the
> challenges of their work. Ubuntu is in some ways your personal
> project: you are predisposed to get overly defensive and even testy
> when its direction is criticized. There's been a discussion in this
> bug about whether Unity should gain a feature or two. At first I
> thought this discussion was distracting (like you, I see that a
> decision has been made and would like to just move on), but it's
> actually instructive in seeing how you respond to the community: you
> carefully tell us why we are wrong, that we don't have a clue how
> developing software really works, and suggest that we leave it up to
> the adults to do things properly.

No, we're all adults, and we could all constructively be helping Ubuntu
further by putting effort in elsewhere.

Mark